Wednesday 31 January 2024

Nazneen Ali & Allah vs Spiderman

If Shashi Tharoor recommends an article, it must be crap- right? Let us take a look at the article in the Indian Express he has just tweeted about 

The ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ of a Muslim millennial

I grew up in a modern India protected from religious divisions reading Hindu mythology, singing Christian hymns and attending Quran classes. But in today’s political atmosphere, I wonder if the little Muslim girl curiously reading a Ramayana comic was just a distant dream

Written by Nazneen Ali

she would have started reading Amar Chitra Katha comics when Vajpayee was Prime Minister. It seems this lady doesn't think little Muslim girls can 'sing Christian hymns' or read about Lord Ram in Modi's India. Why is that? Is it because Rahul Baba will scold the little girl and threaten to open a kiosk of Lurve in her bazaar of Hate?  

I would go so far as to say that I first picked up the values of self-sacrifice and love from the Ramayana.

Nope. You picked it up from Mummy and Granny just like the rest of us.  

A year after I was born, in 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished marking the start of the biggest communal riots in my country.

They were tiny compared to what happened in 1947 when 'Chacha' Nehru became PM.  

As a little Muslim girl who grew up in modern India,

She was about 8 years old when Vajpayee came to power and about 13 when he demitted office.  

I was unaware or rather protected from the religious divisions that were growing wider as I grew taller.

Manmohan did widen religious divisions but he was merely a tool for Sonia.  Meanwhile, the London to which this little Muslim girl emigrated to was part of an alliance which killed 1.3 million Muslims and displaced tens of millions more. 

What I do remember was being fascinated by the Amar Chitra Katha comics that I read as we moved across cities in railway blue boxes. Amongst the various mythological stories animated by the comics, the Ramayana series was one of my favourites. I was enamoured by Lord Ram’s archery skills and his love for Sita, the sense of brotherhood he shared with Lakshman, and the strong friendship he had with Hanuman to rescue his wife from the clutches of evil Lord Ravan. I would go so far as to say that I first picked up the values of self-sacrifice and love from this story.

I recall being fascinated by the Batman comics. It never occurred to me that a big muscular dude shouldn't be hanging around with a kid who didn't even own a pair of trousers but just paraded around in his undies.  

In a parallel universe, in my Christian missionary school, although we didn’t have access to magical comics, we were taught our constitutional rights and concepts of religious secularism using drab black-and-white textbooks. In the scorching assembly heat, we would sing hymns of praise to Lord Jesus while also pledging in unison that “all Indians are my brothers and sisters”.

I went to St. Columba's . We weren't forced to sing hymns.  

Back home, I reluctantly woke up for my early morning Quran classes where I would be told by my creepy Ustad that I would go to hell if I didn’t cover my head. My sister and I would read the poetic verses in the Quran while secretly questioning the myth that was Allah. “Was Allah anything like Ram or Jesus” I would wonder, and “if their paths crossed would they all speak to each other?”

Thankfully, there are now plenty of excellent Muslim schools for girls in Kerala .Their alumni rise up in STEM subjects. I hope they protect their hair and complexion from the Sun by wearing elegant niqab. 

Looking back, my child-like questioning and confusion around my religion was logical. I had this space for doubt because I grew up in a more socialist state like Kerala.

Where the Christians are more militant than in Delhi- which is why the nuns could force her to sing hymns.  

These nuances around faith were not clear to me when I was a little girl. In retrospect, I realise that my romanticisation of communal harmony comes with a lot of privilege.

This girl was being brainwashed by nuns to hate her own religion. Her parents may have accepted this as the price you have to pay in order to get good 'English Medium' instructions for your daughter. Thankfully, thanks to remittances from hardworking Muslim parents, there are now plenty of excellent Muslim boarding schools for girls in Kerala. Let them learn Arabic as well as English and Mathematics. It is a valuable work skill. 

Fast forward to today, where I live in London and speak and think in big English words like liberalism, capitalism, and decolonisation, but still very much question whether a round table discussion with gods would ever happen.

If so, why should Spiderman not be invited?  

This fantasy of mine is naive and probably only worth making a comic out of. There is, however, a strong feeling of grief when I imagine this happening in India, especially today.

In London, Allah will speak politely to Spiderman. In India, Allah will confuse him with Batman and say that he will burn in Hell Fire for what he is doing to Robin.  

The sadness is associated with how my belief around religion itself has changed because just like race and caste, one’s faith can also be divisive in complex societies.

More particularly, if Allah tells Spiderman to stop sodomizing Robin.  

Externally though, the association is linked to the uprising of the Hindutva movement in my country which uses religion as a strong political tool to oppress minorities.

But she says everything was hunky dory under Vajpayee. Still, she must be very happy that in London, Rishi Sunak is ordering the bombing of Muslims in Yemen.  

I usually distract myself from these thoughts now with God-like Instagram algorithms that loyally feed me pointless content on cats, self-love and Bollywood celebrities going to the gym.

This little girl is mentally retarded. 

A far stretch from Amar Chitra Katha

which was for Lord Ram 

and constitutional rights,

which affirms the duty of the Central Government to obey the Supreme Court- which ordered the building of the Temple 

but my feed is filled with stories of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir inauguration and the mass celebrations around it.

Why are Hindus celebrating? Don't the know that Allah has just beaten up Spiderman in the belief that he had been sodomizing Robin?  

Praise for the government for fulfilling the promise of a new dawn with the return of Lord Ram left me feeling perplexed.

This little girl doesn't get that Hindus like Hindu temples. They don't care if Allah beats up Spiderman under the impression that he had been buggering Robin.  

Somewhere between a post of Kangana Ranaut screaming “jai shri ram” ecstatically,

Kangana does not scream. She has a well modulated voice.  

a cat wearing a lehenga and a pseudo-liberal posting a screenshot of the constitution of India — a post on “embracing your INNER CHILD”

but, as Allah explained to Spiderman, embracing inner child does not mean shoving your dick up its arse.  

stood out to me and I wondered if the little Muslim girl curiously reading a Ramayana comic and singing “showers of blessings” was just a distant dream.

My advise is, join Rahul Baba's Yatra and you will once again have the IQ of an 8 year old child. Make this dream into a reality! After that, you can tell Allah to stop beating Spiderman. Robin's anal cherry remains intact. Then Kanganaji will come to you with tears in her eyes and say 'little Muslim girl! You have opened my heart to Jesus! I will now attend nice Convent Skool and acquire pukka Inglis accent. Then all those snobs in Malabar Hills will invite me to their parties.'  

Why Arrow was a Socialist

In 1978, Ken Arrow made  

A Cautious Case for Socialism

which, back then, meant using a Prices & Incomes Policy to contain cost-push inflation- a strategy which had already failed.  I suppose, Arrow, being a heavyweight, could afford to voice an unpopular opinion. Yet, re-reading his essay, we realize that his entire economic theory was shit because it ignored Knightian Uncertainty and was based on the 'intensional fallacy'.  

The discussion of any important social question must involve an inextricable mixture of fact and value.

This would become Hilary Putnam's war-cry. Yet, for any particular purpose, fact and value can be disentangled well enough.  

The fundamental impulse to change and especially to great change is a perception of present wrong and a vision of potential right.

No. Change occurs when it can't be stopped from occurring. Perceptions don't matter if people who think they can change things keep getting shot or going bankrupt. 

The initial impulse must still be checked for feasibility;

Nope. Either the impulse is immediately slapped down or one can persist with it.  

 Values and emotions are best apprehended personally,

The problem is that our true values and emotions may be hidden from ourselves. There is no 'Momus window' into the Soul. 

and I will speak of my own attitudes and their development. This does not mean that my values are all that matter, even to me. I hold that others are free and autonomous human beings, each capable of developing his or her own value system of equal worth and respect to my own.

But those values and emotions may be simulated or strategic.  

But by that very token, the values of others must always retain an element of mystery. The equal but different emotionally based axiological drives of others can never be fully communicated.

The 'intensions' can be communicated, it is just that the 'extensions' are not well-defined. That's why you can't do mathematical econ with 'Preferences' or 'Social Welfare functions'. Well, obviously, you can but it is a case of Garbage in, Garbage out. 

...The great issues of socialism and capitalism became alive to me, as to so many others, in the Great Depression. My own family was severely affected. ... What gave bite and impetus to these reflections on the rottenness of the times was the presence of an alternative possibility.

Slavery. The Depression was a 'coordination problem'. Appoint a Dictator and full employment could be achieved, more particularly in the shooting-dissidents sector.  

It has become a truism that a scientific theory, however incapable of explaining the facts, will never be displaced except by another theory.

Or by the decision that the thing isn't scientific at all.  

It is even more true that a social system, political or economic, however bad its consequences, will be replaced only if there is a vision of a better system.

Nonsense! A shitty system may stop operating. Something else has taken its place but it does not have a name.  

The idea of socialism was easily available. One read about it even in textbooks and newspapers, as well as in the that major source of education, the public library. Here we did seem to have a resolution of our difficulties. Surely, a rationally organized, centrally coordinated economic system could avoid the instability of the capitalist economy and the terrible human and material costs of unemployment.

The trouble was that if the Government says 'hand over your cattle and grain', you may kill the agents of the Government and keep your cattle and grain.  

... But as I observed, read, and reflected, the capitalist drive for profits seemed to become a major source of evil. Clearly, the individualistic profit drive had something to do with the uncoordinated inefficiency of capitalism.

What was needed was a collectivistic profit drive which would bail out Banks, reflate the economy, and get Stock Indices to start rising again. Both Hoover and FDR favoured Cartelization but this was inefficient and so the New Deal ran out of steam by about 1937-38. 

But, more, the drive for profits had other manifestations. The Nye committee, a congressional investigating committee, was engaged in a major investigation of the munitions industry; its influence over governments in creating the fears that improved its sales seemed to be well documented.

The munitions industry began to boom thanks to Hitler. This pulled the US out of Depression.  

The economic explanations of imperialism were virtually standard. Charles Beard and other historians had accustomed us all through their books to seeking an economic explanation of all political actions. The Constitution represented a certain set of economic interests, the Civil War a conflict, sometimes called "irrepressible," of different profit-seeking groups. Most serious of all, World War I, a tragic living memory, was clearly caused, at least in great measure, by competition among the capitalist interests of the different powers.

Because guys called 'Kaiser' or 'Tzar' or 'King Emperor' are Capitalists- right? This was a war between Imperial Cousins. It wasn't a war between Henry Ford & Karl Benz.  

 I could not follow Marxist doctrine very literally for a number of reasons. The labor theory of value was a stumbling block even before I studied economics with any seriousness; there were too many obvious phenomena that it ignored.

Marx said that his theory did not cover services. 

Nevertheless, the insight Marxist theory gave into history and particularly as to political events was striking: the state as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie,

the post-War extension of the franchise meant that a deal could not be done by cigar smoking, top hatted, Capitalists such that there was a bail-out and a rapid reflation following a one off market correction.  

the class interpretation of political and social conflicts, and the interpretation of war and imperialism as the conflict of competing national capitalist interests were illuminating and powerful.

They were nonsense. Capitalists go in for portfolio diversification. The American buys shares on the French Bourse. The German owns stock in British and Dutch companies.  

It appeared more profound than the alternative versions of the economic interpretation of history; they seemed to be mere muckraking, the behavior of venal individuals. Marxism put the system rather than the individual into the foreground. What I drew from this thinking was an argument for system change. The basic criterion for change was moral and ethical. I did not accept ideas of historical inevitability. What the Marxist analysis did say to me, at least then, was that the system of production according to profit established vested interests in destructive activity, most especially war and imperialism, but also oppression of workers and destruction of freedom. I do not believe I ever accepted the theory that racial discrimination was the result of capitalist endeavors to divide the working class, but I certainly accepted the general belief that the capitalist class would overthrow democracy rather than lose its power, as it had done in Italy and Germany and was then striving to do in Spain.

In Italy and Germany and Spain there were crazy Commies who believed 'class war' meant the physical elimination of the bourgeoisie, the petit-bourgeoisie, the kulak, guys who look like they might become kulaks, guys who look like they might begin to look like they might become kulaks, or just guys in general. Kill them all unless they are actually killing you because you are a left adventurist or a right deviationist or look like you might one day start to look a bit Jewy.  

Thus, beside the efficiency value, the values of freedom and the avoidance of war were vital in my attitude toward socialism. The two were and are intimately linked in my mind.

Yet it was the war which dragged America out of Depression. The Cold War meant a large military industrial complex keeping aggregate demand high. It also meant ending Jim Crow because African Americans were needed in the Army and in Industry.  

Discrimination against blacks—denial of their political rights, segregation in housing and employment—was the most blatant case domestically; remember that lynching still existed.

A strong Federal Government can help minorities. African Americans made splendid soldiers and workers. America needed to enable them to rise up to win the Cold War.  

Imperial control of the United States, as in the Philippines,

the US wanted to get shot of it in the Thirties because they feared skilled immigrants from that part of the world.  

and, much more extensively, by Great Britain in India and Africa, served to demonstrate that political freedom had narrow limits under capitalism.

Britain created parliamentary democracy in its Empire though some countries decided not to keep it.  

... Like many others of the time, I was strongly attracted by Gandhi's nonviolent campaigns against British rule.

It was foolish. Gandhi got money from Indian mill owners to burn foreign cloth. He was a tool of specific capitalists. To give one example, when one of his financiers had some dogs killed (which is against various Indian religions), Gandhi wrote articles saying everybody should go out and kill dogs. Not to do so was 'Himsa' (violence)!  

To sum up, the basic values that motivated my preference for socialism over capitalism were (1) efficiency in making sure that all resources were used,

by beating people who were selfishly resting rather than using their labour power for the common weal.  

(2) the avoidance of war and other political corruptions of the pursuit of profits,

Lenin and Trotsky had waded through an ocean of blood to create their 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Stalin's innovation was in killing 'Old Bolsheviks' with as much vim and vigour as kulaks had been killed.  

(3) the achievement of freedom from control by a small elite,

The politburo was way smaller than the American Senate 

(4) equality of income and power,

Stalin's cronies lived large while the masses starved 

and (5) encouragement of cooperative as opposed to competitive motives in the operation of society.

Gulags were actually cooperatives run by vegetarian Lesbians.  

From the perspective of greater education and experience and with 40 years of history, my understanding of the relation between these values and the desirability of socialism has altered.

Not sufficiently.  

 The true enormity of the Soviet tyranny was revealed only in time.

No. It was reported on faithfully enough. People simply didn't want to believe something which was obvious- viz. the place was a hell-hole. Those who could, voted with their feet and ran away. 

But from my point of view, the challenge to socialism was already reasonably clear. At a minimum, the socialist economy did not guarantee democracy and individual freedom. I had the naive idea that in the absence of a profit-making class, there would be no class interested in achieving power over others.

Everybody makes a 'profit' by selling things they have which they value less than some other guy values that thing. It could be labour power. It could be family heirlooms. It could be petroleum underneath land you own.  

It became clear that this view was hardly adequate. The worse problem was the possibility that socialism, by concentrating control of the economy in the state apparatus, facilitated authoritarianism or even made it inevitable. I return to this vital challenge below. I became seriously interested in the study of economics only after beginning graduate study around 1940.

Arrow was Hotelling's student. One could say that the notion of a coordination problem lies at the heart of one of his most famous results.  

Needless to say, learning something of the workings of the economic system and of the logic of neoclassical economics had a considerable effect on my attitude toward socialism. George Stigler remarked once that the study of economics is a highly conservatizing force. To some extent this is true, but only to the extent that any increase in knowledge may lead to greater realization of limitations. The inner coherence of the economy, the way markets and the pursuit of self-interest could in principle achieve a major degree of coordination without any explicit exchange of information

the price vector, or 'spread' of the arbitrageur, is 'common knowledge'.  

—in short, the valid elements in Adam Smith's doctrine of the invisible hand—became important possibilities that qualified a simple view of the inefficiency of markets.

What was missing was the notion of Knightian Uncertainty and why prudence or 'regret minimization' could lead to collective irrationality. One may also mention the 'concurrency problem'. Essentially, plans to reflate the economy foundered on the question of who should be first in line to benefit.  

Similarly, the facts of long-term economic growth in spite of the contemporary economic debacles had to register—though, to be sure, one could scarcely ask for a greater testimonial to the creative power of capitalism than was already contained in the Communist Manifesto.

I suppose Arrow means that Marx was saying that the industrial proletariat- unlike the peasantry- wouldn't want to keep killing Jews because Jews use the blood of innocent Christian babies to moisten their matzoh bread.  

My immediate reaction was to interpret neoclassical economic theory and particularly the then new and rapidly developing discipline of welfare economics as pointing to an ideal efficient economy rather than the actual one, marked both by massive unemployment and by monopolistic distortion.

But there was overfull employment by the time Arrow started studying Econ. I think it would be truer to say that like other young American mathematical economists, Arrow was impressed by the power wielded by 'Price Tzar' J.K Galbraith. War economies were 'Command Economies'. Why should this trend not continue into the post-war years? The nerdy mathematical economist would be flattered and cajoled while the Merchant Bankers and CEOs of big Corporations would eat humble pie. 

Socialism was the way in which the ideal market was to be achieved.

In other words, academics turned bureaucrats would tell supposedly 'private' companies what to do. But this would only breed corruption.  

This doctrine was held by many, including especially the professor here at Columbia to whom I owe so much, both intellectually and personally, Harold Hotelling.

a disciple of Henry George like Vickerey.  

Graduate education in economics at Columbia at that time, just before our entrance into World War II, seemed curiously designed to emphasize the ideal nature of neoclassical theory. The dominating voices, Wesley Mitchell, J. M. Clark, and Arthur F. Burns, held that neoclassical theory had little descriptive value. Though Clark and Burns, at least, certainly had no support for socialism, their views, when taken into conjunction with the theorems of welfare economics, resonated with my convictions that socialism could yield a more efficient economy.

You could have a better 'correlated equilibrium'.  

Finally, the development of Keynesian economics and, after the war, its gradually increasing application changed the nature of the efficiency discussion. In true Hegelian fashion, capitalist instability and the socialist counterattack seemed to be synthesized: it seemed possible to have an economy that retained much of capitalist drive and initiative and yet gave room for the government to intervene to avoid at least the worst inefficiencies of unemployment and the idling of other resources.

In other words, lots of corrupt deals and 'pork barrel' politics while the shareholder got shafted and the pensioner's savings were redistributed to the baby boomers.  

I accepted provisionally what seemed to be a widespread consensus in the euphoria of postwar economic growth. The state had an active role to play in maintaining effective demand and in dealing with the many imperfections of the market system revealed by theoretical welfare economics— the overcoming of market failures and monopoly and the realization of economies of scale. These interventions should take the form of relatively impersonal measures, taxes and expenditures, rather than detailed controls and direct regulation.

Why? The answer was that in America local politicians refused to cede power to academic-bureaucrats.  

The higher taxes meant that the government was automatically engaged in redistributing,

only from those with inelastic supply. 

and some of us felt that it should go much further. I have spoken of a provisional acceptance. I still felt it important to explore more deeply the possibility that socialism was a superior possibility. I was more aware of the complexities of operation of a socialist system and sought to develop more deeply the theory of such a system.

Socialism is cool if there is no Knightian Uncertainty- i.e. all possible future states of the world, and their associated probability, are 'common knowledge'. In that case, the only question is whether the appearance of free markets or uncoerced transactions can achieve as good a result as an omniscient Benthamite planner.  

I also sought to explore more fully the criteria for a democratic social organization. These matters could be thought of as matters for slow reflection and long-term analysis, so long as the economy seemed to be performing so well and the political process seemed to be responding, however slowly, to demands for improvements in efficiency, redistribution, and the overcoming of market defects. The apparent pause in economic growth, the crisis in stabilization policy occasioned by the current inflationary threats and realities, and the loss of purpose in redistributional measures all combine to raise anew the question of alternatives to capitalism.

The solution was Reagan and Thatcher. What stagflation had saddled the West with was a sclerotic economy where Prices and Incomes Policy was the only tool to contain an inflationary spiral. But democratic governments can't shoot Teamsters or jail a hundred thousand striking workers. What Reagan could do was sack Air Traffic controllers while Thatcher was able to break the Coal Miner's Union in the UK only because Scargill, the militant Miner's leader, was a Stalinist blathershite who inspired fear not sympathy.

. With regard to equality of income, let me first remark that I am taking it to be a good, other things being equal.

Why? Different people have different preferences. Ceteris paribus, they should have different incomes because of different 'disutility from work'.  But such disutility is a function of transfer earnings- i.e. opportunity cost. 

It can be objected that the drive for equality may dull incentives, and the net result will be a reduction in everyone's real income. This is a legitimate instrumental objection but not an objection to the value presumption in favor of equality as such.

Why not suggest instead that everybody should be the same height even if some want to be jockeys and others want to be basket-ball players?  

Many current thinkers object to distributive equality on principle, on the grounds that it contradicts freedom of property. This is a large subject; I simply state my conviction that property is itself a social contrivance and cannot be taken as an ultimate value,

why should you be allowed to deny needy sodomites the right to fuck you in the ass? It isn't as though anybody owns parts of their own body. That is merely a 'social contrivance' invented by evil Capitalist bastids. 

indeed, that institutions

e.g. Columbia University which won't admit me as a student jus' becoz I iz illiterate 

that lead to gross inequalities are affronts to the equal dignity of humans

my dignity is affronted by the fact that Columbia University hasn't given me tenure as a Professor of finger painting.  

and can only be accepted as necessary evils.

It is not a necessary evil. We think it a good thing if smart, hard-working, Jews, rather than lazy, stupid, Hindus, get appointed Professors at Columbia.  

It certainly seems as obvious as can be that a socialist economy can achieve much closer income equality than a capitalist economy.

Unless its people run away. Prison can achieve equality of material well-being, but the prisoners may escape.  

The category of profits is absent.

In which case there is no reward for risk. There can be a workaround for this but only if there is no Knightian Uncertainty.  

While we now understand that most inequality in income is due to inequality of so-called labor incomes, it is certainly true that the ability to acquire profits increases inequality.

Arbitrage, or market-making, is a service. Some are very good at it. This increases allocative efficiency.  

Further, the higher end of the income of professionals and executives is largely a rent in the economic sense

It is a quasi-rent. Try to tax it and professionals and executives will emigrate. Medium to Long term, factor elasticity is high.  

and would be unnecessary in a socialist society. One needn't ask for utopian dreams of virtually complete equality of income. In a world of any complexity, there must necessarily be both antagonistic and cooperative elements. The model laissez-faire world of total self-interest would not survive for ten minutes; its actual working depends upon an intricate network of reciprocal obligations, even among competing firms and individuals.

But those 'reciprocal obligations' are self interested and 'regret minimizing'.  

But the capitalist system is structured so as to minimize cooperative endeavor.

The Coasian firm internalizes externalities. It is based on cooperation though it competes with other firms.  

The worker is a factor of production, a purchased item, not a part of a team.

That is certainly true of academics. But, in the Coasian firm, you have team-work.  

The attempts to handle externalities in recent years have led to interesting resistances; antipollution regulations are perceived as a threat to profits, not a social gain.

It depends on the regulations. Profits can increase when a repugnancy market is removed or there is a level playing field. In particular, profits can rise in the anti-pollution technology sector. 

Again, socialism is far from a magic cure. Each suborganization, for example industrial plants, will have its own proximate goals, which will not mesh completely with those of others. But the system should permit a greater internalization of broader goals.

Like firing religious Jews or Zionists and then labelling them as 'refuseniks' or 'social parasites'.  

It should be easier for a plant to regard product safety as one of its socially valued outputs.

Punitive damages awarded by Courts can ensure this happens.  

The comparative economic efficiency of capitalism and socialism remains one of the most controversial areas.

Maybe this was true at one time. Then Gorby spilled the beans on how the Soviet economy actually worked.  

The classical socialist argument is that the anarchy of production under capitalism leads to great wastage.

In particular, the opportunity to kill lots of people is wasted.  

An appeal to the virtues of the price system is, in fact, only a partial answer to this critique. The central argument, which implies the efficiency of a competitive economic system, presupposes that all relevant goods are available at prices that are the same for all participants and that supplies and demands of all goods balance.

No. There is no need to presuppose any such thing. We can have missing markets and markets that fail to clear and imperfect competition of various types.  

Now virtually all economic decisions have implications for supplies and demands on future markets. The concept of capital, the very root of the term "capitalism," refers to the setting-aside of resources for use in future production and sale. Hence, goods to be produced in the future are effectively economic commodities today. For efficient resource allocation, the prices of future goods should be known today. But they are not.

They can't be. Knightian Uncertainty obtains. One may just as easily say 'for our words to mean anything, we must know how they will be understood by others at different times and places. Since this knowledge is lacking, language is meaningless. We may as well just make miaow miaow noises.'  

Markets for current goods exist and enable a certain coherence between supply and demand there. But very few such markets exist for delivery of goods in the future. Hence, plans made by different agents may be based on inconsistent assumptions about the future.

Just as language used by different agents have to be based on inconsistent assumptions about how that language will be understood. Thus when I said 'it's true that all I do at work is look at porn and wank' I didn't mean for my boss to take this as an excuse to fire me. Instead I assumed what he would hear was 'Vivek is a great worker. We should double his pay.' The fact is, when we speak we hope to be understood in the manner most favourable to us. But the person grilling us wants an excuse to sack us or lock us up for some crime we confess to committing.  

Investment plans may be excessive or inadequate to meet future demands or to employ the future labor force. The nonexistence of future markets is no doubt linked to uncertainty about the future.

i.e. the fact that we don't know what will happen- even stochastically- in the future.  

But this points to an even more severe shortcoming of the actual capitalist system compared with an ideally efficient economic system.

It turns out this shortcoming is also the shortcoming facing language as compared to some perfect type of telepathy featuring only angelic beings.  

The uncertainties themselves are relevant commodities and should be priced in such an economy. Only a handful of insurance policies and, to a limited extent, the stock market serve to meet the need for an efficient allocation of risk-bearing.

Arrow doesn't realize that everybody is bearing all sorts of risk they are not even aware of.  

In the ideal theory of the competitive economy, market-clearing prices serve as the communication links that bring into coherence the widely dispersed knowledge about the needs and production possibilities of the members of the economy.

Markets don't have to clear. We just say that the supplier's ex poste and ex ante outcome don't match.  

In the absence of suitable markets, other coordinating and communicating mechanisms are needed for efficiency.

What are needed are costly signal based discoordination games giving rise to 'separating equilibria' such that hedging and income effects arise. This does mean that general equilibrium is anything goes.  

These come close to defining the socialist economy, although admittedly wide variations in the meaning of that expression are possible. As I have already suggested, the existence of idle resources is a prime example of coordination failure.

There was massive coordination failure in Communist countries precisely because arbitrageurs could not gain economies of scope and scale.  

The experience of the Communist countries bears on this point. With all their difficulties and inefficiencies, and they are not few, recurrent or prolonged unemployment is not one. A graph of economic activity in the United States is, under the best of circumstances, jagged and spasmodic, that of the Soviet Union much smoother.

not to say fictitious 

Fluctuations there are, as there must be in any complex dynamic system. But the planning, however -inept, serves to keep the basic resources and their uses in line.

Kantorovich's work focused Soviet minds on the low 'shadow price' for their oil. They'd be better off selling on the spot market and telling their allies to go fuck themselves.  

The sophisticated antisocialist reply to this argument is not to deny it but to emphasize that a socialist system is not an ideal resource allocating mechanism either. Much is made of the obvious inefficiencies of the Communist countries, though the Soviet growth rate and technical development has on occasion caused fear and trembling and overall still averages above the United States rate.

Arrow, it seems, agreed with Samuelson that the Soviet Union might overtake America.  

As all too frequently happens in the social sciences, no clear-cut dominance pattern of efficiency can be found either way.

It was found. Gorby announced it. But LSE students had already found it in Morishima's introductory Econ course.  

All that can be said is that socialism is clearly a viable economic system,

provided there is low preference and endowment diversity and there is a big positive externality associated with belonging to the country 

contrary to what many would have asserted in the not-too-distant past, and it does not release energies and productivity far beyond the capitalist norm. I have referred rather vaguely to the corruption of the political system by narrow economic interests as one of the evils of capitalism that might be avoided under socialism. More explicitly, a democratic polity is supposed to be based on egalitarian distribution of political power.

No. I am as stupid as shit. I vote for a Party which will be very careful to exclude nutters like me from having any 'Voice' in public affairs. We want power to be held by those will do a good job exercising it. The same is true of wealth. I don't want to have a lot of it because I will soon become the mark of fraudsters and scheming women. It is good that stupid and useless people like me have no wealth or power.  

In a system where virtually all resources are available for a price, economic power can be translated into political power by channels too obvious for mention.

& political power can turn into lots of money  

In a capitalist society, economic power is very unequally distributed, and hence democratic government is inevitably something of a sham.

We may emigrate to such a society knowing we will remain poor and powerless there. But one of our kids or grandkids may have superior ability, or luck, and rise into affluence and influence.  

In a sense, the maintained ideal of democracy makes matters worse, for it adds the tensions of hypocrisy to the inequality of power.

Politicians have to pretend to listen to crazy nutters like me. Otherwise, people think they are arrogant or elitist.  

My early assumption that only capitalists would have an incentive to influence democratic decisions was too simple. Everyone in an economy has an economic interest. It is also true that individuals have interests and attitudes that do not derive from their economic improvement and may even oppose it. But it is today a widespread doctrine, held by conservatives as well as socialists, that concentrated economic interests are more than proportionally powerful in the political process.

But if they press their luck, they may have the rug pulled from under them. The British Trade Union movement was riding high in the Seventies. It could bring down governments. Then Thatcher called the bluff of the Coal miners.  

George Stigler and his colleagues have maintained with great vigor that regulation of industries is usually carried out in the interests of the regulated and is not infrequently originated by them.

Alternatively, regulation kills the thing off save in so far as it is subsidized by the tax-payer.  

The reasons offered are perfectly in accordance with ordinary economic principles; there are economies of scale in the political process, so that a small economic interest for each of a large number of individuals is less likely to get represented than a large interest by a small number. So long as the state power can be democratically run, much of this distortion of the democratic process should be minimized under socialism.

If all socialists were angels who spurned gifts or the offer of cocaine and prostitutes- maybe.  

Income inequalities should be greatly reduced. Economic power deriving from managerial control rather than income should be less easily translatable into political power than under a regime of legally and practically autonomous corporations.

It makes sense for producers to have some political power so as to ensure that conditions for production and wealth creation improve.  

We come then, finally, to what is probably the most serious of all the concerns about socialism. Is it in fact compatible with freedom and democracy?

No. Voters kick it in the goolies and tell it to fuck off to wherever it is that Liberalism disappeared to.  

It is the fear that socialism may bring tyranny that has inhibited so many of us from being more active advocates. It is noteworthy that when Joseph Schumpeter wrote on Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, he affirmed that socialism, which he thoroughly disliked, was fully compatible with political democracy.

It is compatible only as long as voters say it is. That is the crux of the problem.  

It is only perhaps with Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom that the association of capitalism and democracy became a staple of the procapitalist argument.

Don't forget that much of Europe was against both Capitalism and Democracy. It was thought that the Land owning Aristocracy and the Church, which also owned land, were the two strong pillars of the state. To some extent the 'Third Estate' should be allowed to industrialize the nation using modern technology. But they lacked the breeding to achieve the type of social cohesion which the Crown, the Aristocracy, and the Church knew instinctually how to achieve. 

The 'ordoliberal' aspect to Hayek and the Austrians pointed to a new educated, urban, class of knowledge workers who could become the prop of a Liberal Democratic regime pursuing economic growth while creating a 'Social Minimum'.  

The association itself, however, was not new; it was one of the standard Marxist views, though not held by all. The hypothesis was that the resistance of capitalists to the coming of socialism will lead to the subversion of democracy by them. At least the transition will require the "dictatorship of the proletariat," a phrase whose ambiguities have been only too well clarified by history. This Marxist view indeed gives credit to capitalism for the origins of democracy; it is an appropriate political form, a parallel to the ideas of free contract. So long as the "contradictions" of the system are not too sharp, the nominal equalization of political power offers no threat because economic power is so preponderant.

The Marxist view was that a Bismarck could easily manipulate a Lasalle, create a social minimum, and thus turn the proletariat into a hyper-nationalistic force. Also extending the franchise to women was a bad idea. Their hearts fluttered when they saw the aquiline profile of a Top Hatted toff and so they gave him their votes. 

But democracy will decline with the failure of capitalism. The experience of Chile, to cite only a recent example, certainly gives some credence to this theory.

Rosenstein-Rodan blamed Allende's incompetence for his failure. I suppose if Copper prices hadn't fallen, he might have stayed in office. Still, the fact is democracy declined because of incompetent socialism, not 'the failure of capitalism' 

Ironically, the current conservative model explaining the supposed association of capitalism and democracy relates to the Marxist as a photographic negative to a positive. It too suggests that the political "superstructure" is determined by the "relations of production." The conservative model contrasts the dispersion of power under capitalist democracy with its concentration under socialism. Political opposition requires resources. The multiplicity of capitalists implies that any dissenting voice can find some support. Under socialism, the argument goes, the controlling political faction can deny its opponents all resources and dismiss them from their employment. This theoretical argument presupposes a monolithic state. It is something of a chicken and-egg proposition. If the democratic legal tradition is strong, there are many sources of power in a modern state. Adding economic control functions may only increase the diversity of interests within the state and therefore alternative sources of power.

Arrow understood that countries which had always been totalitarian shitholes tended to turn into Communist totalitarian shitholes.  

It is notoriously harder for the government to regulate its own agencies than private firms.

Not under the rule of law. The Judiciary provides the check upon the executive.  

Socialism may easily offer as much pluralism as capitalism. The overpowering force in all these arguments is the empirical evidence of the Soviet Union and the other Communist countries, and it is strong.

It was a fantasy.  

But the contrary proposition, that capitalism is a positive safeguard for democracy, is hardly a reasonable inference from experience. The example of Nazi Germany shows that no amount of private enterprise prevents the rise of totalitarianism.

Weimar was playing 'extend and pretend'. Once it was no longer a net borrower, it collapsed. Germans backed the Army's maximal program- viz. grabbing land to the East to avert the starvation which Keynes had said would be Germany's inevitable fate because the US had become a net food importer by about 1920! Truly, 'great economist' means 'ignorant shithead'.  

Indeed, it is hard to see that capitalism formed a significant impediment. Nor is Nazi Germany unique; Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, and the recurrent LatinAmerican dictatorships are illustrative counterexamples to the proposition that capitalism implies democracy.

Why not mention Saudi Arabia or the UAE? They are capitalist but, thanks be to Allah!, not democratic- which is why so many people are happy to go and work and live there.  

Further evidence can be drawn from the increasing role of the state in guiding economic activity. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, though not socialist as that term is properly used, have certainly greatly increased their intervention in the economy. Yet democracy and political and personal freedom have never been stronger in these countries.

Actually, the tide had already turned. Intervention wasn't falling but its rate of increase definitely was. To squeeze inflationary bias out of the economy, even the Nordics needed to free up markets and abandon 'solidarity wages'.  

Indeed, Samuel Huntington

who was working in the Carter White House at the time. His book 'The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies' came out in 1975. The question was how to increase the authority of the central government while maintaining accountability. 

has argued that an excess of democracy makes it difficult to meet the current problems of the United States. The evidence, it seems to me, points to the view that the viability of freedom and democracy may be quite independent of the economic system.

Huntington had been saying since 1968 that nations are likely to be governed in the way they always have been. 'Modernization theory' was a crock of shit.  

There can be no complete conviction on this score until we can observe a viable democratic socialist society.

Like the Chinese unicorn, we can only observe it if we don't know what it is.  

But we certainly need not fear that gradual moves toward increasing government intervention or other forms of social experimentation will lead to an irreversible slide to "serfdom." It would be a pleasure to end this lecture with a rousing affirmation one way or the other. But as T. S. Eliot told us, that is not "how the world will end." Experiment is perilous, but it is not given to us to refrain from the attempt.

Sadly for Arrow and Rawls and Sen and so forth, the experiments would be made by Thatcher and Reagan. There was a brief moment of optimism that Gorby would create a utopia through 'perestroika'. Instead, he sank the Soviet Union by surrendering Party control of the economy. There was an immediate 'scissors crisis' and Yeltsin came to power. He ruined Russia with help from the Harvard Econ Dept. No blame attaches to Arrow or Samuelson for this outcome. Still, they should have seen it coming. Where they fell down was in neglecting 'Knightian Uncertainty'.  

Guha vs Tharoor

 Lala Hardayal was the first and last St. Stephanian to achieve anything of worthwhile, though to do so he had first to move to Lahore University. Otherwise, St. Stephens has produced nothing but snobbish mediocrities with a regrettable 'cacoethes scribendi'- i.e. an itch to publish worthless books. This becomes clear when we read the following excerpt from Ram Guha's new book on Rukun Advani. It becomes 

A Stephanian he was distinctly ambivalent about was their exact contemporary, Shashi Tharoor. Both ranked first in their class – Tharoor in History, Advani in English –

since both were 'Arts stream' they were bound to be cretins 

but there the resemblance ended. Shashi was, even in college, very much a public man, debating, acting, becoming president of the Wodehouse Society and of the Quiz Club before being elected president of the College Union. He was charming and outgoing, but, from the start, ferociously ambitious.

He could have been a successful journalist and broadcaster- a more genial Karan Thapar- and in that way could have got to know his own country quite well. 

Shashi wanted to make a mark in the world, quicker and more dramatically than any Stephanian (or perhaps any Indian) before him.

Journalism was the way to go. Instead, Tharoor became a UN diplomat- i.e. a eunuch. On the other hand, Ramu Damodaran- who must have been a batchmate of Tharoor- was Narasimha Rao's right hand man before running away to the UN rather than ending up sentenced to jail like his former boss. I'd say Ramu, who was the presenter of a pop music show on AIR, was the most popular person on the Stephens campus at that time. 

Whereas Rukun had no ambition to become well known. In college, all he wanted to do was read, listen to music, and have one-on-one conversations with friends. In the OUP, all he wanted to do was edit books;

It must be said that the OUP had some excellent Indian editors back then. 

while he gloried in the success of his authors, he never remotely wanted to take any credit for this. As we have seen, this inwardness and reclusiveness deepened even further when he retreated to Ranikhet and ran Permanent Black from there.

Advani emigrated from the twenty first century which was not to his liking.  

Rukun had a mixed opinion of Shashi Tharoor as a writer, and as a public figure.

Guha will now reveal that Rukun thought the man was utterly shit.  

Of Tharoor‘s The Great Indian Novel he once wrote:

[T]he deliberately provocative immodesty of the title actually has less to with the author’s nearly incredible self-esteem than with the irreverent, daring and heady atmosphere of the St. Stephen’s to which this over-spun allegory seems completely traceable.

This is foolish. What Advani should have noted was that Tharoor thought the Dynasty was the 'Kaurava' faction- i.e the bad guys blinded by nepotism. The one interesting detail was that Tharoor thought highly of a Commie politician from Kerala. Back when this book was published, the Soviets would have analysed it- or so Indians believed- and would have decided Tharoor was a sound enough fellow. This might mean more rapid promotion at the UN.  

The proper place for this novel to have been serialized was Kooler Talk, the Stephanian rag made up of wit, puns, good humour, satire and irreverence.

No. Kooler Talk was quite funny in bits. Tharoor is always as boring as...Guha.  

In that same essay, Rukun compared Tharoor unfavourably to other novelists from St. Stephen’s. Whereas the language of Upamanyu Chatterjee, was, he thought, ‘a very much more refined and reflective version’ of Kooler Talk,

Upamanyu waxed lyrical over getting a beejay from a bhishti or some shit of that sort. He has been forgotten 

both ‘Allan Sealy

nobody every managed to finish a book by Sealy. They may claim to have done so but if you ask them what happened to the bhishti at the end of Trotter Nama, they become evasive. The correct answer is bhishti gave beejay to Upamanyu 

and Amitav Ghosh

a Social anthropologist!  

are traceable to St. Stephen’s much less easily and much more obscurely than Tharoor and Chatterjee’. While taking something from their old college, these more gifted writers had outgrown its milieu,

how the fuck can you not outgrow the milieu of your school or college?  

tackling complex historical and moral questions beyond the grasp of the common or garden variety of Stephanian novelist.

they may tackle complex questions but their work remains simplistic.  

As is well known, after St. Stephen’s, Shashi Tharoor went on to a long and distinguished career at the United Nations,

his campaign for the top job attracted Manmohan's attention. He thought Tharoor could be useful in giving insights into the US strategic thinking.  

before returning to India to enter politics and joining the Congress Party. He became a member of Parliament, then a Union minister, before being sacked in part because of a jokey tweet, and in part because he seemed keener in involving himself in India’s foremost cricket tournament, the IPL (Indian Premier League), than in discharging his responsibilities as a minister.

Manmohan gave him a second chance in the HRD ministry.  

When Tharoor was asked to resign by the prime minister, Rukun wrote me a mail combining compassion with sarcasm,

Rukun gloated over Tharoor's misfortune 

which must – only slightly redacted – now be made public:

I feel a bit sorry for him. So much ambition, and successful all the way till the failed attempt to become UN chief. And now the first big political victim of something as silly as a Tweet. Poetic justice I guess for former editor of that expanded version of tweeting, Kooler Talk.

Advani was mentally retarded. He just couldn't get over 'Kooler Talk'. He was like a dog with a bone.  

He’s completely secular and personally decent, a good man fallen among thieves.

Congress was a den of thieves. That was true enough.  

Since he has literary ambition as well, a good analogy seems Tharoor as Macbeth with vaulting ambition . . . trying to dethrone King Lalit Duncan Modi and coming a cropper.

The reference is to Lalit Modi who was had created the Indian Premier League (for cricket)

But I fear something worse is going to befall us now: he will inflict his third-rate narcissistic journalism on us once again. We should plead with Nirmala Lakshman [editor of the Hindu Sunday Magazine, where Tharoor had a column before he joined politics] to run for her life before he starts badgering her.

Tharoor has published a lot of books since then. I believe they sell quite well. He has endeared himself to the younger generations of aspirants to the Civil Service.  

Shashi Tharoor and Rukun Advani were exact contemporaries at St. Stephen’s.

Tharoor was ambitious and did well for himself. Advani liked editing books and that's what he devoted himself to doing.  

Superficially, they were alike; both brilliant, both very widely read, each far removed in his interests from the ‘sports type’ that I myself was in college. Even some of their literary tastes overlapped; both admired Wodehouse and Orwell, for example. Yet in terms of character and personality no two Stephanians could be so radically dissimilar. I suspect most readers of this book will know Shashi Tharoor’s public profile. To show how Rukun Advani is, as it were, his absolute Other, I must take recourse to the words of the most gifted of all Stephanian prose stylists, Mukul Kesavan:

[Rukun] has no interest in impressing others. This sounds impressive but it isn’t because this freedom from human neediness isn’t down to modesty or reticence or some karmic insight into the general maya-ness of things. It’s simpler than that, so simple that he can’t take any credit for it: Rukun doesn’t like People.

Perhaps because they keep telling him he smells bad.  

It explains everything about him. This is why he lives in the hills. This is why he loved [his dog] Biscoot without reservation: he wasn’t human.

Also, he didn't mind that Advani smelled like shit 

He loves Beethoven because he’s dead and his genius can be electronically reproduced without the agency of other people.

who might hold their nose and point at you and say mean things. 

It’s why he deals in books: books are forms of disembodied intelligence, they hold out the promise of profundity or pleasure without people attached.

Not the sort of books Advani edited. They were boring and stupid. Still, at least he got paid and didn't have to listen to people telling him he smelled bad.  

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Why Nitish is not subject to anti-defection bill

Shoaib Daniyal asks in why Nitish Kumar should not be subject to the anti-defection law. The answer is, he heads his own political party and his party can ally with who it likes. Prior to 1985, the Constitution did not recognize political parties as separate entities. But, that is no longer the case. 

Apart from curbing the influence of money, the other argument for the Anti-Defection Law was that voters vote largely on the basis of a party symbol. This is why a legislator must listen to the order of the party while voting. By itself this was an unusual claim backed by little data. Especially given the fact that voters were, quite literally, voting for a legislator – as is the foundation of a Parliamentary system.

But a lot of the voters were quite literally illiterate. They put their cross against the party symbol.  

However, if we take this claim at face value, again: why does this argument not apply to Nitish Kumar? If he has fought elections in a pre-poll coalition, he is breaking the voters’ mandate by switching sides.

In that case parties which have a pre poll pact not to 'spoil' each others chances against a third party would be obliged to form a coalition government or have a common whip.

It is quite probable, for example, that a voter who voted for a Janata Dal (United) candidate was a BJP or RJD supporter. So what happens to her voice when Nitish Kumar flip-flops?

In this case Nitish fought the election as a BJP ally and will probably fight the 2025 Assembly election as their ally.  

That the Anti-Defection Law penalises a future Gaya Lal

an infamous legislator of the Sixties who kept changing party every few months 

but not a Nitish Kumar is an important pointer to what actually drives the law. While it purports to curb the politics of money and power, what the Anti-Defection Law actually does is push this sort of corruption one level upwards: from the level of the MP and MLA to the party high command.

No. What the Anti-Defection law was to give constitutional recognition to political parties. This reflected the fact that the Party loomed larger in the minds of the voter while the legislator might be wholly unknown or imposed from outside.  

Party leaders are free to openly pursue the politics of power and money.

Power, yes. It is illegal for politicians to enrich themselves by virtue of power they wield.  

Nitish Kumar could switch as many times as he wants in order to be chief minister but his actions are legal, as are those of the BJP and RJD which also indulge in this game of musical chairs over mandates.

Political parties are free to form alliances or to make pre-poll pacts or to engage in horse-trading such that Bills that are passed have clauses benefiting the clients of different political parties or reflecting their ideological preferences.  

In effect then, the Anti-Defection Law has weakened grassroots leaders

They are welcome to set up their own parties or to stand as Independents.  

and strengthened a small number of big leaders who head parties. In fact, the law is a significant reason for the strengthening of personality-based politics in India,

Nonsense! Personality-based politics had triumphed in 1937 itself! What changed over the course of the late Fifties and Sixties was that internal democracy withing political parties weakened and there were endless splits and a whole alphabet soup of different Congress and Communist and 'Samajwadi' parties.  

where politics – from voting to governance – is concentrated in the personality of a few big leaders such as Narendra Modi or Mamata Banerjee.

Indira was a small leader- right? She would very humbly fetch tea for her legislators and massage their feet.  

Grassroots politicians

Mamta's party is called 'Grassroots Congress'.  

are increasingly becoming irrelevant as voting now largely takes place on the basis of these prominent names.

Whereas few voters in the Fifties had heard of Jawaharlal Nehru.

In effect, this is a sort of Presidential system where voters are now voting directly for an executive rather than, as is the norm in a Parliamentary system, voting for legislators who then elect a government.

Rubbish! If India had a Presidential system, Modi would get 70 percent of the vote. As things stand, a good pre-poll pact could deprive BJP of its majority. 

However, a Presidential system has many checks – an independent legislature,

not if the President's party has a majority in both Houses. 

for example, that often places barriers to the executive. However, on this, India is still solidly Parliamentary: the executive still controls the legislature.

No. The legislature creates the executive. The Cabinet only serves so long as it enjoys the confidence of the House.  

The end result is a worst-of-both-worlds: a politics of centralised personality with no checks and balances on these powerful leaders.

India has an independent judiciary of an activist type. Moreover, popular agitations- e.g. farmers' protests- create countervailing power.  

The long-term effect of this on Indian democracy is, of course, troubling. Weakening grassroots politics is a weakening of democracy itself.

This cretin didn't notice that there was a Dynasty headed by a nice Italian lady which was ruling India prior to 2014.  

Voting is a sort of feedback loop, a way for citizens to influence the government. But it is unclear what happens when the constituency is as large as, say, Bihar or, in Modi’s case, the Indian Union itself.

No. It is clear that the Bihari voter will kick out an administration it finds incompetent of excessively criminal. The same is true of the India voter.  

Hyper-centralisation means large numbers of issues will simply not be big enough for one, centralised leader to look at.

Which is why disbanding the Planning Commission was a good idea.  

This is visible in the way livelihood concerns such as inflation, which could bring down governments till a few decades back, are now rarely electoral issues in India.

The price of onions can still bring tears to the eyes of the PM. Let us see whether Nirmala can contain inflation and if the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra can enrol enough labharti beneficiaries in time for the election.  

Sunday 28 January 2024

Zack Beauchamp on Modi

Zack Beauchamp, writing for Vox, thinks that democracy is endangered if a Hindu temple is built in a Hindu country on orders of the highest Court in the land.  He writes-

Understanding the temple’s story is thus essential to understanding one of the most important issues of our time: how democracy has come under existential threat in its largest stronghold.

In 2002 Sonia Gandhi announced that she would build the Temple if the Court gave permission. Thus, both the NDA and the UPA- the two national party coalitions- were committed to building the Temple. The Supreme Court directed the building of the temple in 2019. The 'pran prathishta' ceremony was completed on Jan 22. How is this an existential threat to Hindu democracy in Hindu India? The whole thing is legal and both main national parties were committed with complying with the Court Judgment and building the Temple in the manner the Bench stipulated. 

How the Ayodhya temple dispute gave rise to Modi’s India

The dispute over Ayodhya has become a flashpoint in modern Indian politics because it speaks to a fundamental ideological question: Who is India for?

That question was answered in 1947. India was for Hindus. Pakistan for Muslims. The guy who pulled the trigger on Partition and ethnic cleansing founded a dynasty currently represented by the cretin Rahul. It is because he is utterly useless that Modi will get a third term.  

The relevant history here starts in the early 16th century, when a Muslim descendant of Genghis Khan named Babur invaded the Indian subcontinent from his small base in central Asia. Babur’s conquests inaugurated the Mughal Empire, a dynasty that would reign in what is now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh for generations.

As Nehru's dynasty reigned till recently. Rajiv, Nehru's grandson, set the ball rolling for the construction of the Temple. Had Sonia been in power, she'd have taken credit for it. Sadly, Rahul was gun-shy. He didn't want to get blown to pieces like his Dad or shot to pieces like his granny. The safer thing was to make Congress unelectable.  

At least a remnant of the Mughal state survived until the British seized India in the 19th century.

The Mughals had come under Hindu Maratha protection before becoming pensioners of the British.  

The mosque in Ayodhya was a product of the early Mughal Empire, with some evidence suggesting it was built almost immediately after Babur’s forces conquered Ayodhya in 1529. Called the Babri Masjid — literally “Babur’s Mosque” — it was a testament to the impact the Mughal dynasty and its Muslim rulers had on Indian history and culture.

It didn't matter in the slightest. What mattered was that the site was sacred to Hindus. Still, in the Fifties and Sixties, there was a notion that India could rise rapidly through some magical practice known as 'Secular Socialism'. Sadly, that magic didn't work. People ran away from Secular Socialist shitholes and got jobs working in orthodox Gulf monarchies- unless, of course, they could emigrate to places ruled by White Christian Capitalists.  

During the British colonial period, different Indian factions diverged sharply on how to remember the Mughal empire.

Some Hindus were trying to con the Muslims into accepting their hegemony. The Muslims weren't stupid. They didn't swallow the bait. In any case, they had no interest in living in a shithole ruled by Gandhian shitheads. Sadly, a lot of them had no choice in the matter.  

For Mahatma Gandhi, who led the mainstream independence movement, the Moghul Empire was a testament to India’s history of religious diversity and pluralism.

Gandhi was lying. The way to tell was to see if his lips were moving. Zack may be surprised to hear that politicians lie all the time. 

Gandhi praised the Moghul dynasty, especially its early leadership, for adopting religious toleration as a central state policy. “In those days, they [Hindus and Muslims] were not known to quarrel at all,” he said in 1931, blaming current sectarian tensions on British colonial policy.

He was always saying all sorts of crazy shit. People knew he was getting money from Indian mill owners to get consumers to boycott British textiles so as to benefit his financiers. Still, the good thing about Gandhi was he was doing his best to keep the Brits around. As he said in 1939, Congress is Hindu- i.e. non-violent or shit at fighting. If the Brits left without handing over the Army to Congress, the Muslims and Punjabis would grab everything. They might not rape the Hindus because of Ahimsa magic, but everything else would be up for grabs.

But the leadership of the Hindu nationalist RSS organization saw things differently. Focusing in particular on the late Mughal emperor Aurangzeb — who imposed a special tax on non-Muslims and tore down Hindu temples — they argued that the Mughals were more like the British than Gandhi allowed. The Muslim dynasty was not, in their mind, an authentic Indian regime at all; it was just another colonial conquest of an essentially Hindu nation. Muslims could not, and should not, be seen as full and equal members of the polity.

Sadly for the Mahasabha, it was Congress which was the muscular arm of Hinduism. As Gandhi said, its leaders in Bihar had been very good at killing innocent Muslims just to show them who was boss. 

The Babri Masjid swiftly became a major flashpoint for this historical and political dispute.

No. Muslims being killed and chased away was the big 'flashpoint'. Strange as this may sound, Muslims care much less about some ruin than they do about not being fucking stabbed.  

Because Ayodhya was widely seen by Hindus as Ram’s birthplace, the presence of a prominent Mughal mosque there was seen as an affront by Hindu nationalists. In 1949, shortly after independence, a statue of Ram was discovered inside the mosque itself. Hindu nationalists claimed that this was a divine manifestation, proof that the mosque itself was the site where Ram was born.

It appears there was a clever plan, involving a senior ICS officer, aiming at getting control of valuable parcels of land during those unsettled times. This wasn't only at the expense of Muslims. It appears some land held in trust by 'Udasin' and perhaps some other sects was being transferred. Since Hindu supremacy was swiftly and irrevocably established in UP/Bihar, the temple didn't greatly matter. There were court cases filed by different parties and there was an Archaeological survey but little interest in the matter till the mid-Eighties. Rajiv could have consolidated his hold on the Hindu vote by building the Temple but he vacillated and then was brought down by a corruption scandal. Later, he was foolish enough to say he might send the Army back to Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers decided to kill him. Nice guy but not smart. 

But according to Hartosh Singh Bal,


executive editor of the Indian news magazine The Caravan,

a magazine in which there is no news of any kind 

the historical record tells a different story.

“Members of a Hindu right-wing organization clambered over the walls, took the idol, [and] placed it there,” Bal told Vox’s Today Explained. “This was the first supposed proof that this [site] was in any way connected to a Hindu monument.”

Why did the Hindus chose that particular place? Hartosh won't tell us. The answer is that it was the Bethlehem of the Hindus.  

For years, this manufactured conflict over religion and the Mughal legacy didn’t play a major role in Indian politics. The Congress party, the political descendant of Gandhi’s secular liberal vision for India, dominated Indian politics — winning every single national election for the first 30 years of Indian independence.

Indira split the Congress party and turned it into a purely dynastic cult. That's how come a nice Italian lady could rule the country by proxy for ten years.  

But in the 1980s, as the public tired of the Congress party’s domination, Hindu nationalist efforts to stoke tension surrounding the mosque intensified — and caught political fire. The BJP, the political arm of the RSS, made the construction of a Hindu temple on the site of the Babri Masjid a central part of its political agenda. The party, which won just two seats in India’s parliament in 1984’s election,

because the Sikhs killed Indira in revenge for the attack on their Golden Temple. Rajiv won a landslide and should have consolidated his hold on the Hindu vote by building a nice Ram Temple.  

won 85 seats in the 1989 contest .

Rajiv was brought down by his own pals who were appalled by the scale of his corruption.  

The RSS and BJP kept pressing on the issue, helping organize a series of yatras (pilgrimages) to Ayodhya calling for the mosque’s demolition.

Why? North Indian politics had become 'Mandalized'- i.e. about increased caste based reservations for dominant agricultural castes. The BJP needed 'Mandir'- i.e. Hindu consolidation- to combat 'Mandal'.  

These grew huge, unruly, and even violent. In 1992, an out-of-control Hindu nationalist mob armed with hammers and pickaxes stormed the Babri Masjid. They tore it down by hand, horrifying many Indians and setting off religious riots across India that killed thousands.

Riots only occurred if the police didn't immediately shoot rioters- as they did in Delhi. Still, the BJP and its ideological allies did well out of evidence of Muslim terrorism.  

Andrea Malji, a scholar of Indian religious nationalism at Hawaii Pacific University,

i.e. an ignorant shithead 

describes the Babri Masjid movement as creating a kind of “feedback loop.” By bringing widespread attention to a source of Hindu-Muslim conflict, the movement actually made Hindus and Muslims more afraid of each other — leading to more conflict between the groups and, thus, increasing support among Hindus for Hindu nationalism. This was very good for the BJP’s political fortunes.

No. What was good for the BJP was global Islamic jihad and Pak sponsorship of terrorism and ethnic cleansing in Kashmir valley. Vajpayee, made the BJP a party of governance by doing a nuclear test. The need to contain Islam meant Hindus had to hang together. But militant Islam would have the same effect in Europe. It was the US however which launched the war of revenge which killed 1.3 million mainly Muslim people and displaced tens of millions more. Meanwhile, in Europe 'far right' parties have a role in government in Sweden, Finland and Italy. Hungary too may be considered right wing. France has certainly shifted to the Right. The UK is a bit strange because it has a Hindu Prime Minister. But for his colour, he'd fit the bill of a White Supremacist albeit of a posh sort.  

“Mobilizing around identity — especially when you’re 80 percent of the country [as Hindus are] is an effective political strategy,” she tells me.

No kidding! 

The Ayodhya dispute was not the only reason that, in the coming years, the BJP would displace Congress as the dominant party in Indian politics.

Autocracy gets tempered by assassination. That's why Rahul doesn't want to be PM though, as he said, he could have taken that office on turning 25.  

Modi’s first national victory, in the 2014 election, owed more to economic issues and Congress’ many corruption scandals than anything else.

No. Rahul refused to shoulder aside the decrepit Manmohan and lead his party to victory by promising to clamp down on corruption.

But Ayodhya was the crucible in which the BJP’s modern political approach was formed.

No. The Jan Sangh rose on the coat tails of Lohia, JP, Charan Singh, Karpori Thakur and other such non-Brahmin popular leaders who opposed the Dynasty. Advani and Murli Manohar saw the potential of the 'rath yatra'- i.e. raising funds for the building of a grand Temple- though Atal remained aloof. However, as Modi understood, what was really important was organization building at the booth level. While Rahul is wasting his time with a 'yatra', Modi's vans are criss-crossing the country enrolling 'labarthis' (beneficiaries) in various welfare schemes. This is particularly effective with women voters.  

Modi’s political innovation has been refining this approach, developing a brand of Hindu identity politics with greater appeal to the lower castes than the historically upper caste BJP had previously managed. As time has gone on, he has only gotten more aggressive in pushing his ideological agenda.

This is silly. Voters want economic benefits. If promising to kill minorities could get you elected, minorities would have vanished long ago. Modi's 'Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra'- a massive 'doorstep' welfare enrolment scheme- is his ace in the hole. The Ram Mandir consecration was a personal triumph for Modi but voters have bills to pay. 

Through it all, the Ayodhya issue remained a major priority for both Modi and the BJP.

No. The thing had the potential to turn into a shit-show with the Nirmohis fighting the..urm...Mirnohis or whatever.  

In 2019, just months after Modi’s reelection, India’s Supreme Court ruled that the construction of Ram Mandir on the former site of the Babri Masjid could begin. Its inauguration this week is a declaration of victory for Modi and the BJP on one of their signature issues — one of the most visible in a long line of successes.

The BJP did a good job of setting up a Trust which has managed things very well. It must be said, few predicted how impressive the Pran Prathista ceremony would be. There will now be a lot more such reclamation projects. Everybody is a winner because pilgrims bring in money.  

Hindu nationalism versus democracy

The Ayodhya dispute helps us understand a deeper connection between the rise of Modi-style populism and the erosion of Indian democracy —

A dynasty dying nasty does not represent the erosion of democracy. The reverse is the case 

that anti-democratic politics is not some kind of bug in BJP rule, but an essential feature.

Zack thinks Hindu democracies should not do what is pleasing to Hindus. Sadly, that is not how democracy works. The Bench will probably give more and more Hindu deities title to mosques and Temples will go up on those sites as the law requires.  

India’s constitution and founding documents unambiguously declare the country a secular nation of all of its citizens.

The Bench and the Bench alone says what is or isn't constitutional. The Supreme Court ordered the building of the Temple. It was built. Zack's peculiar interpretation of the Indian Constitution has no importance whatsoever.

This universalistic vision permeates Indian law and government; it lies at the heart of the Indian state.

Does it not permeate the judiciary- which, btw, is more independent than the American Bench?  

India’s founders believed this was essential to making the Indian state a viable democracy: There is no world in which the citizens of such a large and staggeringly diverse country could cooperate together if they weren’t guaranteed certain basic equal rights.

No. India coheres because it is Hindu. Non-Hindus areas are secessionist unless there is a greater external threat- e.g. China to Arunachal.  

“We must have it clearly in our minds and in the mind of the country that the alliance of religion and politics in the shape of communalism is a most dangerous alliance,” Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, said in a 1948 speech. “The only right way for us to act is to do away with communalism in its political aspect in every shape and form.”

Jinnah was saying similar things in Pakistan. His law minister was a Hindu- a pal of Ambedkar who was Nehru's law minister. Sadly Mandal soon had to run away to India. But there were plenty of Muslims being forced out of Nehru's India.  

Modi’s Hindu nationalism, by contrast, posits that legitimacy flows not from consent of all the citizens but consent of true people of India. That means Hindus in general, and Hindu nationalists in particular. Because they believe they represent the true nation, Modi and the BJP have no problem steamrolling on the rights of those who disagree with them — including not just Muslims, but also Hindu critics in the press and checks and balances in the Indian state.

This cretin still doesn't get that it was the Bench which gave the entire plot to the Hindu deity and ordered its construction.  

“It’s very difficult for me to find compatibility between Hindu nationalism and democracy,” says Aditi Malik, a political scientist at the College of the Holy Cross who studies Indian politics.

But Indians think this lady has shit for brains. Smart people who study Indian politics can become rich and influential by getting different political parties elected. Credentialized cretins clutching their pearls and teaching other cretins don't matter in the slightest.  

There is nothing in theory undemocratic about the construction of a Hindu temple on a recognized holy site, especially when the construction is duly authorized by the legal authorities. But when it’s built on the ruins of a mosque torn down by a Hindu nationalist mob aligned with the ruling government, it sends a signal not just of Hindu joy but of Muslim subordination by any means necessary.

In which case, not building the Temple sends a signal of Hindu misery and Muslim supremacy. If it was wrong to smash the ruin in 1992, then building the mosque was wrong. Crimes against property don't attract  

Notably, Modi did not, at any point during the ceremony, apologize to India’s Muslims for the violent way in which the road to Ram Mandir was paved.

Whereas Biden apologized for America killing over a million Muslims one way or another- right?  

Milan Vaishnav,

another cretin 

an India expert at the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, sees this as exemplary of the BJP’s general approach to wielding power. In his view, the party has presided over a gradual breakdown of norms of restraint governing Indian politics — adopting an “ends justify the means” approach to imposing the Hindu nationalist agenda because they believe they speak for the true majority.

But Vaishnav aint winning any votes for the INDIA alliance. Oh. I forgot. There is no INDIA alliance. Nitish is back with the BJP while Mamta and Mann have told Congress to fuck off.  

“There is this feeling that, because this government is democratically elected, whatever they do has a democratic imprimatur,” he says.

It did what the Supreme Court asked it to do. Vaishnav type cretins thought the job of the judges was to demand that all Hindus immediately give beejays to Muslims. Surely, that is a Directive Principle in the Constitution?

Modi’s war on the free press

is fake news fabricated by portions of that free press which, like Vox, are subsidized by various billionaire foundations.  

— which has included friendly oligarchs buying up independent media outlets,

Oligarchs like good publicity. They buy media outlets all over the place for that reason. Some make good profits doing so- look at Rupert Murdoch.  

siccing auditors on critical media outlets,

which take money from abroad to spread Chinese propaganda?  

and even imprisoning reporters on terrorism charges — is a case in point.

A terrorist may claim to be a freelance journalist just as rapists may claim to be Sperm Donors freelancing for the WHO. 

Seeking to force the media to tow a friendly line is undemocratic under any definition, even if the policies are authorized by a legislative majority.

But it hasn't occurred in India. True, the State Government can make life very difficult for you if you go against them but three big metros- Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi- are Opposition controlled. You are safer in each of them if you attack Modi.  

But the BJP believes that it, and it alone, speaks on behalf of the Hindu nation — and that critics in the press have no more right to challenge them than Muslims do.

Nonsense! Brahmins- especially heads of Brahmin monastic orders, like the Sankaracharyas- speak for Hindus. The BJP has to tread carefully. It can't be seen to be favouring one sect over another. 

There is every reason to believe that India will continue following this anti-democratic path in the years to come.

There's every reason to believe these cretins will keep recycling this shite every couple of years.  

In evaluating India, we have to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. First, Modi and his agenda is genuinely popular with the Hindu majority. Second, this popularity has given him room to pursue an ideological agenda that imperils the long-term viability of Indian democracy.

 Indians don't want to be a 'Secular Socialist' Republic for the same reason the Iraqis and Syrians don't like Dynastic Ba'athist parties. Religion is a service industry. Let it burgeon and the economy improves. Socialism should mean only a universal welfare safety net- not holding down the economy and sodomizing it mercilessly. 

When Modi said in his speech at Ayodhya that the day marks “the beginning of a new era,” t

for devotees of Lord Ram- sure.  

his might very well be true. India could be at the beginning of a long illiberal night — one its democracy may not be able to survive.

Fuck liberalism. Those who gas on about it just keep getting stupider and stupider. Democracy is burgeoning in India because more and more citizens get something tangible in return for their votes. Leaders, too, find that their power increases when the voters get behind them. This is not to say there aren't challenges ahead- seat redistribution after 2026, 'one nation, one election', Judicial reform, Revenue sharing, etc.- but solving those problems is what politicians get elected to do. 

Uttertosh Varshney on why we must vote BJP

Uttertosh Varshney & some PhD scholar at Brown have published a hysterical essay in some shitty Journal or other. Varshney is Hindu. He wants to convey the impression that Muslims in India were always greatly inferior to Hindus in culture, education, wealth and political power. Basically he is calling Indian Muslims the n-word. This is very funny but is it really the ideology that Brown University wants to promote? 

Is India under Narendra Modi, who became prime minister in 2014, beginning to resemble the American South under Jim Crow?

No. Unlike the US, which does not have an Election Commission, there is no voter suppression or gerrymandering in India. 

The American South wasn't very different from the American North. Blacks and 'Injuns' were at the bottom of the pile. Still, it must be said, Jim Crow America didn't wage a war of revenge on Muslims killing 1.3 million of them and displacing tens of millions more. Since India stayed out of that horrible business, Americans like pretending that India, not America, is anti-Muslim. 

The term refers, of course, to the politics of racial oppression that came to dominate in the eleven former Confederate states following the end of Reconstruction in 1877.

Those States had practiced slavery. India did not have slavery. However as in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc, religion can become the basis of ethnic violence as happened in parts of Northern India in 1947. One could compare Jim Crow to untouchability. One can't compare religious nationalism in India to anything in the US. The closest analogy would be Belfast wishing to stay out of a united Ireland on the grounds of religion.  

From about 1880 to 1965, each of these states saw grave democratic backsliding as elected legislative bodies and executive authorities ignored or circumvented the citizenship, due-process, and equal-protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868); deprived African Americans of the voting rights they had been guaranteed under the Fifteenth Amendment (1870); and directly or indirectly supported extralegal vigilante violence against blacks, especially in the form of lynchings.

Plenty of Whites were lynched by other Whites. Incidentally many indigenous Americans only got citizenship in 1924. 

Allowing for historical differences—India never had a system of racialized chattel slavery such as held sway in fifteen of the then-34 U.S. states plus several U.S. territories at the time the Civil War broke out in 1861—it remains fair to say that if Jim Crow was about the severe marginalization of black Americans on the ground of their race, then Hindu nationalism under Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is about the attempted marginalization of a minority, namely, Muslim Indians, on the ground of their religion.

This would not be a fair statement at all. Muslims were marginalized in 1947. They simply don't matter at all. Manmohan briefly pretended he would do something for them but he himself didn't have any power. 

As Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen argue, the motives behind Jim Crow were not only economic (a desire to keep the minority’s labor cheap) but also political and social: fear of black political power in the South, where blacks continued to make up a large share of the populace, and fear of the social equality presaged by the end of slavery and the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. 

Where Muslims are the majority they can chase out kaffirs but they are a small minority in most parts of India and get stomped if they get up to mischief.  America was a settler colony with Caucasians being explicitly given a higher status than Black, Chinese and East Indian origin people. 

Here is where the parallels with Modi’s Hindu nationalism begin. Just as a key aim of Jim Crow was to blunt the Reconstruction Amendments and turn blacks into second-class citizens,

which the Northern States had no problem with 

Hindu nationalists seek to diminish the constitutionally guaranteed equal citizenship of Muslims and turn them into marginalized, less than fully equal citizens.

Can Uttertosh point to any voter suppression? No. It is a different matter that both the US and India band non-citizens from voting.  

-White supremacy and Hindu supremacy are twins in that sense.

In which case they are related to Islamic supremacy and Buddhist supremacy and Marxist supremacy.  

Their histories are different, but their political objectives and discourses are much the same.

Because Biden is lynching Hindus or forcing them to eat beef.  

Similarity marks even the methods deployed: exclusionary laws, segregation, and vigilante violence.

Moreover Modi has a penis. Guess who else has a penis? That's right! It is Joe Biden who, along with his pal Obama, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Muslims. 

Just as in the Jim Crow South a combination of state-level election victories and extralegal methods was deployed to deprive blacks of their rights, Hindu nationalism is using both legislative power and extralegal methods to subdue Muslims.

No it isn't. There is no need.  

Vigilante violence, condoned or supported by the state, has been on the rise since Modi and his party came to power.

Nope. There is no statistical evidence for this.  

In short, elections are being used to create legislatures that pass anti-Muslim laws,

name one.  

while street-level vigilantism supports the formal politics of exclusion. This was also how democracy worked in the American South after Reconstruction collapsed in the late 1870s.

No. The North never gave a fuck about niggers. Southerners were welcome to fuck over niggers, spics, Injuns- you name it.  

Unlike Nazi Germany in its targeting of Jews, the Jim Crow project was not eliminationist. Hindu nationalists likewise seek not the physical elimination of Muslims, but rather their relegation to second-class citizenship.

Uttertosh doesn't give them enough credit. They would love to have a pure Hindu rashtra or Hindu Pakistan.  

The Third Reich had concentration camps for Jews. The Jim Crow South did not have such camps, nor does India today.

The Bench opened detention centres in Assam.  

To annihilate the equality that blacks were promised after the Civil War was the objective of Jim Crow.

This nutter thinks Blacks had equality in Chicago and New York!  

Hindu nationalists also seek to abolish the equality granted to Muslims by India’s 1950 Constitution.

It took away affirmative action from Dalit Muslims! The Assembly had already banned the re-entry of Muslims who had crossed the border in panic.  

Jim Crow was about white supremacy; Hindu nationalism is about Hindu supremacy.

Which was achieved in 1947.  

Jim Crow lasted for the larger part of a century, not weakening until the 1950s and not ending until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

White Americans didn't and don't give a shit about darkies or Injuns or wetbacks.  

The Hindu-nationalist project is in its early phases and can still be forestalled.

Nope. It triumphed in 1947 when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were slaughtered.  

Before a Jim Crow–style Hindu-nationalist order is institutionalized via political and legislative processes, voters can remove the BJP from power via defeat at the polls. If voters do not turn back Hindu nationalism, it is our grim prediction that its similarities to Jim Crow will only grow. Parallels are already disturbingly in evidence.

To cretins. The good news is that Uttertosh is only writing this shite because he is a racist Hindutvadi who wants to pretend that Muslims in India were always as lowly as 'nigger' slaves.  

Exclusionary Ideologies

Jim Crow was rooted in the idea of racial hierarchy

which was gladly embraced by almost all Whites 

and Hindu nationalism is driven by belief in a religiously defined national community.

Congress was, as Gandhi put it in 1939, a Hindu party.  

The notion of equality among groups is an anathema to both, and the presumption of group exclusion and hierarchy a defining feature of each.

Whites thought they were superior to Blacks. Most probably still do. This was not the case in India. There had been Muslim rulers and there was a large 'Ashraf' Muslim nobility.  

In one case, the exclusion is racially formulated and in the other, the basis for exclusion is religious, or what one might call ethnicized religion. Moreover, both are governed by historically constructed notions of honor and ignominy and do not shy away from violence as a mode of restoring honor and avenging perceived humiliation.

All that is irrelevant. In South Asia, majority religions fucked over minorities unless the minorities behaved themselves and kept quiet.  

While the United States has always had more than two races, Jim Crow focused on a racial binary. “The white people who settled this country . . . should alone govern it,” said Alfred Moore Waddell, the former Confederate officer who led a bloody 1898 white-supremacist coup against a duly elected, biracial city government in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Kill the Injuns but keep the Blacks around to pick cotton.  

What race was to Jim Crow, religion has been to Hindu nationalism

and Pakistani and Burmese and Sri Lankan nationalism.  

since that ideology’s founding a century ago.

After the formation of the Muslim League.  

 If white supremacy in the U.S. South meant rejection of racial equality, Hindu nationalism comes with the denial that Muslims and Hindus can be equal in India.

Muslims dominate Pakistan and Bangladesh and Kashmir Valley. They have to pipe small where they are the minority.  

And if India’s postindependence constitution has made Hindus and Muslims legally equal,

Muslims were deprived of affirmative action previously awarded those of 'untouchable' caste. Many lost citizenship or property or were compelled to emigrate. They became a cowed and economically backward section of society. 

Instead of punishing India’s remaining Muslims, however, the leaders of India’s freedom movement and its constitutional framers protected them.

There was a pact with Pakistan not to continue ethnic cleansing.  

The 1950 Constitution was based on the idea of religious equality. It gave universal franchise to all adults, regardless of religious affiliation.

It got rid of reserved seats. Muslims were stripped of any concessions previously offered them.  

Emerging Indian Laws

Soon after the BJP won reelection in 2019, having increased both its vote and seat share and remaining at the head of its ruling coalition, two of its biggest moves in Parliament were anti-Muslim. The first was a fundamental change in legal status of the disputed state of Kashmir. India is an asymmetric federation, meaning that not every state has the same rights. Kashmir, the only state with a Muslim majority, had greater autonomy within the national constitutional framework.

No. The Supreme Court, in 2016, said it had no 'shred' of sovereignty.  

Only defense, foreign relations, and communication were under Delhi’s control; other realms of policy and governance were left to Kashmir’s own state government.

Nonsense! Nehru jailed the popular CM of Kashmir even though he was a close friend.  

Some other states, especially in the Northeastern tribal areas, have roughly similar status. Yet Kashmir, in the eyes of Hindu nationalists, had a built-in religious defect: its Muslim majority.

It did ethnic cleansing of Hindus in the Nineties. For some reason, this does endear Kashmir to Hindus.  

In August 2019, the BJP used its new majority to strip Kashmir of its special autonomy and make it the eighth of India’s “union territories.” These federal entities are run directly by the national government in Delhi, with no governments of their own. The implication was clear: A Muslim-majority state was being shown its proper place in Hindu-majority India.

No. The police was brought under the Union Government so that it could go after terrorists without interference by Kashmiri politicians. The Law & Order situation improved. Now, the worry is that Myanmar's internecine conflicts will spill over the border into the North East. God alone knows how Modi and Shan will resolve that sitution.  

In December came passage of a change to the Citizenship Act of 1955. This law had imposed no religious criteria on aspiring citizens, but the new law (called the Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA) opened a “fast track” to Indian citizenship for “persecuted minorities” from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Two things about this law were noteworthy. First, it specified only the Muslim-majority countries in India’s neighborhood as sites of persecution.

Because they persecuted non-Muslims.  

It left out Sri Lanka, which is mostly Buddhist and has a Hindu (ethnically Tamil) minority that often complains of persecution and was on the losing side of a civil war.

So what? If the Tamils cared about this they could have asked for their inclusion. 

Also unmentioned was Burma, where a small (4 percent) Muslim minority has been the target of violence often condoned or even assisted by the government.

Nobody wants those nutters- not Bangladesh, not Indonesia, nobody.  

Not only did the CAA rest on the false premise that only Muslim-majority countries near India have religious persecution problems, but it also specified “persecuted minorities” in a way that conspicuously ignored Muslim victims of ill treatment.

Because Muslims want to kill kaffirs. Sadly kaffirs kill Muslims where they are the majority.  

The text lists Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians but is silent about the Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan and the Ahmadis in Pakistan, for instance, though both these groups have long suffered at the hands of oppressive Sunni majorities.

Some Ahmadis do get asylum but must keep quiet about it or else the Sunnis will start baying for their blood. Hazaras are wanted by Iran for its war in Syria. 

The plain fact is, when India gave asylum to Dr. Taslima Nasrin, the Mullahs started baying for her blood and she had to run away to Scandinavia.  

The ideological nature of this was clear: In the BJP’s eyes, no Muslim groups deserved the status of persecuted minorities.

No. In the eyes of Indians, Muslims should not be given refuge in India because either they will kill kaffirs or else the Mullahs will bay for their blood.  

Amit Shah, head of the Home Affairs Ministry under Modi, announced that the CAA would set in train the creation of a National Registry of Citizens (NRC). The need for proof-of-citizenship documents imposed by the NRC had the potential to strip millions of their citizenship.

If they are illegal migrants they don't have citizenship.  

Hindus without papers could sidestep the threat, however, by citing their status in the eyes of Indian law as members of a minority persecuted elsewhere in the region (Nepal is the world’s only other Hindu-majority country). Muslims have no such recourse. Even if born in India, they could face expulsion for want of papers.

Not really. You'd have to prove they came from Bangladesh- which would be difficult to do.  

Since voting depends on citizenship, even Muslims who manage to stay in India may find that their lack of papers will disenfranchise them.

That should be enough to appease the Assamese.  

Hindus, again as a “persecuted minority,” are less likely to be affected. States not run by the BJP denounced the NRC and said that they would refuse to implement it, so the plan remains on hold. If the BJP and its allies do better at the polls, the scheme could return. There are tens of millions of Muslims who might fall afoul of it and be declared noncitizens, but their numbers are so large that concentration camps or expulsion to Muslim-majority neighboring states are unlikely. Their disenfranchisement, however, is highly feasible and appears to be the real point of the NRC anyway.

Certainly, in the North East, disenfranchisement of illegal migrants is the only way to avoid a blood bath. Recall the Nellie massacres of 1983 which forced Indira Gandhi to negotiate with the Assamese.  

If the CAA and NRC resemble

American policy on asylum, citizenship and voting rights.  

Jim Crow’s poll taxes and literacy tests

neither exist in India 

in their intended effect of keeping a disfavored group from voting, the “anti–love jihad” ordinances of today’s India resemble the anti-miscegenation laws of the American South.

No they don't. All countries would regard a marriage entered into with an improper purpose- e.g. to extort money or to cause religious conversion- to be prima facie illegal and criminal in nature.  

Hindu nationalists have long pushed a conspiracy theory that Muslim men are seeking to lure Hindu women into marriage in order to swell Muslim numbers. Interfaith marriages, it is said, must be outlawed lest Hindus find themselves reduced to a minority. The strangeness of the math here—Hindus currently outnumber Muslims in India by more than five to one—has not stopped BJP politicians and ideologues from insisting that the love jihad is a real threat and trying to spread fear that the far-fetched scenario will come to pass. Several BJP-ruled states have passed measures to prevent Muslim men from marrying Hindu women, even if the desire to marry is wholly voluntary on the part of two adults.

It may be voluntary but may still be fraudulent and criminal in even an American jurisdiction.  

In India, the primary form of mob violence used to be the riot. Lately, however, riots have declined in frequency,22 and lynchings are taking their place. Riots and lynchings are different, and exploring how they differ will also clarify what the role of the state is in vigilante violence.

Figure 1 shows lynchings since 2009. Modi and the BJP entered government in May 2014, and after that time we see a distinct rise.23 Figure 2 breaks down lynchings by the victim’s religion. Muslim victims exceed Hindu victims several times over even though Muslims form a much smaller share of the population. The numbers leave no doubt that Muslims have been the main victims of lynching.

If the majority of criminals belong to a particular group, the majority of victims of vigilante justice will be from that group.  

It can also be shown that a disproportionately large proportion of lynchings have taken place in states ruled by the BJP.

Because these are states being targeted by anti-BJP forces though, it must be admitted, this helps the BJP gain popularity amongst Hindus. 

 This is consistent with the comparative research on ethnic or racial lynchings mentioned above. BJP governments rarely condemn lynchings in anything like forthright terms, and BJP-affiliated groups tend to celebrate the ringleaders of such violence and present the lynching as justified. A common aim of lynchings is to prevent the eating of beef, the production and selling of cow meat, and the cattle trade.

Cow protection is a Directive Principle in the Constitution.  

Because cows are sacred to Hinduism, say Hindu nationalists, these activities must be stopped. Other aims of lynchings include preventing or punishing conversions to Islam, and stopping young Muslim men from marrying Hindu women. These too are ideological projects for Hindu nationalists. So long as lynching is presented as serving a larger ideological cause, the BJP’s state administrations rarely take action.

says a guy who is anti-BJP 

Indeed, something worse is now being done. In several BJP states, local officials or the police are increasingly bulldozing Muslim homes and businesses while claiming that Muslims of the vicinity took part in a protest, impeded the celebration of a Hindu festival, or committed a crime. Court orders for these demolitions of property are neither wanted nor sought. Thirteen states today have non-BJP governments, so these punitive administrative or police actions are not yet an all-India phenomenon. But in several BJP-run states, recent years have seen instances of Muslim properties disappearing under bulldozer blades.

This is hugely popular.  

What makes Modi’s India and the Jim Crow United States comparable?

Nothing. India is like Pakistan or Sri Lanka. It is not a rich 'settler colony'.  

It is the idea that electorally legitimated majoritarianism can be used to create an ensemble of laws and practices which seek to deprive a disfavored group of its rights, subject it to extralegal violence, and reduce it to second-class citizenship.

That idea has been flourishing in many Muslim states.  

The emergence of the full-blown Jim Crow system in the post–Civil War United States took several decades. As an ideology, Hindu nationalism has been in power at the national level for only a single decade.

No. It came to power in 1947 and stayed in power. One might say that 2004-2014 was exceptional because Sonia- who is Roman Catholic- was in charge. But that was a flash in the pan.  

The political order preferred by Hindu nationalism is not yet complete or firmly in place; only the first steps have been taken. If the BJP keeps winning elections, there can be no doubt that these steps will continue and the impetus behind them will be stronger. In the United States, Jim Crow went against the Constitution, but the courts for a long time would not apply that document.

Because the US Constitution was founded on White Racism just as the Indian constitution is founded on Hindu supremacy.  

In India likewise, the judiciary is not playing its assigned role as guarantor of liberal constitutionalism against the trespasses of overweening executives and legislatures.

The Bench has been to the right of the Government.  

Although it took them until the 1950s to fulfill their role, America’s courts eventually did so and began enforcing civil rights.

Because that was good for National Security.  

Will India’s?


Whatever the answer, friends of liberal, constitutional democracy will be wise not to count on judges to salvage the situation. In the end, only the voters can decide to stop Hindu nationalism, or else underwrite its final advance. The choice is theirs.

Uttertosh is saying to his fellow Hindus- vote for Modi otherwise you will be swamped by refugees from a sinking Pakistan. They will slit your throats. Be like Europe which is now electing right-wing leaders. Modi is a bit wishy-washy. Go for stronger meat- just not beef.